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Former Inmates

Former Inmates: Establishing a Financial Foundation

Each day, former inmates are released in a new life—often with no home, little money, and questionable credit. Finding and keeping a job, as well as managing the money they earn, is essential to successful re-entry into society. Help ex-convicts establish a solid financial foundation by using this workshop that provides basic financial planning tips, including creating a spending plan, establishing a banking relationship, and avoiding money traps.

Workshop Materials

You must agree to the terms of the Content License Agreement below to access the materials. Once the materials are downloaded, they may be used as-is or customized to best meet your needs.


Each kit provides workshop facilitators with the materials needed to run a workshop straight out of the box, or the choice to adapt any of the detailed presentations, scripts or learner action plans to suit their unique audience’s needs. Here is what you can find in each workshop.

A Presentation

Display these PowerPoint slides during your presentation to keep the workshop engaging and on track.

A Script

Consult the script for tips on how to prepare for your workshop, what your primary talking points will be, and follow-up resources.

Activities and Info Sheets

Guide your workshop participants through the hands-on activities and informational sheets to bring the financial skills to life.

Related Resources

Find additional suggested resources that can help round out your educational offerings.

FAQs

The FAQ section for each workshop can help answer your questions about working with your intended audience.

FAQs

I’ve never spoken in front of a group of former inmates before. Will I be in danger?

Although the answer might sound trite, it’s important to remember that former inmates are people, too. The individuals, who will show up for your program, attend because they are serious about getting back on their feet; they’re not interested in causing trouble. They’re looking to you for information that will help them avoid going back to prison and, hopefully, to become well-adjusted and productive members of society. The fact that you’re sharing your hard-earned knowledge with people, who are getting a second chance is a gift they are sure to appreciate.

If I’m going to get through to this audience, what are some of the things that I need to be thinking about in terms of my presentation?

People go to prison for a variety of reasons, and they’ve likely learned some hard lessons at a high cost. That means you need to make a strong impression from the start in order to catch their attention and present your information in a systematic way. Your attire is less important than how you carry yourself as you enter the room and then proceed through your presentation. The best and surest way to catch the group’s attention is to let everyone know immediately that you are a professional and that you’re going to help them make wise choices with their money.

Is there anything I should emphasize when I’m speaking to a group of former inmates?

Sadly, a lot of former inmates traded life lessons that provide the basic building blocks of personal finance for “survival” lessons. If you can put financial ideas into metaphors your audience can grasp, you’re likely to maintain everyone’s attention. For instance, you could ask someone in the group if he or she knows what it’s like to “owe” somebody. Maybe money; maybe a favor. Ask them how they felt about the situation: “Was it unpleasant to have that debt hanging over your head?” From here you can proceed to explain that it’s the same thing when it comes to personal finances: It’s better to stay ahead of the game by owing as few people as possible. What’s more, when you are ahead, you want to make sure to save something for a rainy day.

Will my work with former inmates really make a difference?

As with any kind of volunteer work that helps those less fortunate than yourself, you will definitely make a difference in someone’s life. Just the act of you showing up will send a strong signal that somebody cares within the community. Additionally, if even a fraction of all the financial information you share gets through and helps your audience in their daily lives, you’ll have made a big difference in a person’s life. Don’t look for instant gratification. Your volunteer work needs to come from the heart.

I know that finding employment can be difficult for former inmates, how can I address this during the workshop?

Finding employment is something that many former inmates struggle with and can impact them financially. It is important to stress that budgeting and saving are important while employed and unemployed. Also it may be appropriate to bring in materials from local job finders or groups that help former inmates find employment.

Community-Based Financial Capabilities Part 1 - Groundwork

The first of a three part workshop that helps community groups create financial capabilities programs tailored to their respective audience.

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Entry-Level Wages

Help entry-level professionals create a spending plan that manages all their expenses.

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Problem Gambling Part 1

Practical steps family members and friends can take to help deal with the financial impact of problem gamblers.

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Problem Gambling Part 2

Help problem gamblers learn what actions they can take to address any financial problems created by their gambling.

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